LZH Laser Akademie GmbH in Hannover, Germany, has celebrated its fifth anniversary and 3000 graduates. That’s 3000 students who, since the school’s founding, have successfully completed qualification courses and have achieved certification – a real boost for the technical workforce. Walter Hirche, the region’s economic development minister, was bountiful with praise for the academy’s work. He also remarked that the school is well-positioned in the laser and optical technology fields and noted the importance of continuing education at an international level. The school has its roots in Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH), whose thriving advanced training department inspired the creation of an independent facility in 2003. LZH Laser Akademie was set up as a joint venture of LZH and hannoverimpuls, the city’s regional development agency. Stephan Meiser, managing director of LZH Laser Akademie, told Europhotonics that the school’s association with LZH is a key factor in its success. Students and an instructor at the LZH Laser Akademie review the details of a piece of equipment.“When a new laser process is developed at LZH, we get involved from the start to develop the appropriate training – which is highly important when it comes to effective introduction of new processes on the shop floor,” Meiser commented.In addition to specialized training, LZH Laser Akademie offers a wide variety of standard courses. Students can take laser safety classes as well as those that lead to certification, which is required for cutting or welding with lasers. The centre also is active in job placement and professional re-education. About 70 technicians and engineers have earned additional credentials in laser technology before obtaining successful employment in metal processing, medical analytics or biophotonics. Last but not least, the academy runs Discover Light, a laboratory designed to encourage careers in optics and lasers. Meiser sees that, thanks to the breadth of its portfolio, the school is well-situated in the laser and optics training market, even on a European scale. He explains that, because of government funding in the 1980s and its vital mechanical engineering industry, Germany traditionally has been associated with competence in the field of lasers. Future trends, he observes, will encompass micro- and nanotechnology as well as industrial engineering, where the emphasis will be on logistics, process planning and quality.